Mike Hart: Wayward Genius
In his BBC Radio Merseyside programme, On The Beat on October 6, Spencer Leigh presents a documentary celebration of the wayward genius of Liverpool singer/songwriter, Mike Hart.
From time to time, gifted artists are rediscovered and their work re-examined. Sometimes these artists have died tragically young or never quite made it. In his BBC Radio Merseyside programme, On The Beat on October 6, Spencer Leigh presents a documentary celebration of the wayward genius of Liverpool singer/songwriter, Mike Hart.
Hart was a talented frontman, singer and poet who had long battles with alcohol. In 1962, Hart founded Liverpool band The Roadrunners, which he left in July 1965 and later joined Liverpool Scene which featured Adrian Henri, Andy Roberts and Mike Evans. He stayed with them only for one album, leaving to pursue a solo career including an album called ‘Mike Hart Bleeds’ produced by the late John Peel.
The programme features contributions from Dave Boyce, Pete Brown, Maurice Cockrill, John Cornelius, Nell Dunn, Mike Evans, John Gorman, Billy Hatton, Sidney Hoddes, Jude Kelly, Mark Kelly, Mike McCartney, Roger McGough, Andy Roberts and others.
Liverpool poet Roger McGough remembers Hart’s unique voice: "'Please Bring Back The Birch For The Milkman' has a music hall quality that I love, and he had a heart-wrenching voice. He lacked confidence and he couldn't believe that anyone would admire him. Maybe that's where all the pain and soul came from."
John Cornelius, author of Liverpool 8 thinks that Hart deserves a place alongside other great musical talents: "I would place Mike Hart on the same pedastal as Bob Dylan and John Lennon: he was that good. He let himself down but he was the genuine article, a Woody Guthrie who led a rolling stone lifestyle."
Mike Hart wasn't hungry for fame and recognition but today survives in an Edinburgh nursing home. Find out more about this forgotten talent on Saturday 6 October 2007, 5.30 to 8pm on BBC Radio Merseyside 95.8FM.
last updated: 04/10/07